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There Seems to be a Trend…

Everywhere I turn, I see ‘light embroidery’ – digitized designs that intentionally expose the fabric behind the embroidery. This technique is advantageous when heavy stitches will change the drape of the fabric or when a soft look is desired. But you don’t have to settle for subtle – you can add color with fabric markers.

Managing Editor Denise Holguin recently visited with Loralie Harris of Loralie Designs at Sewing and Stitchery Expo, 2011. Loralie shared her new technique of stitching fast and coloring quick. Her Fast Women! Collection (it’s not what you think) is titled ‘fast’ because they stitch in a jiffy. If you know Loralie, you know she’s quite an artist and plain black stitches on white fabric aren’t going to stay that way for long.

Loralie illustrated how easy it is to fill in the embroidered areas with her Art Stamps Copic Sketch markers. Copic Sketch markers have two tips – a sharp and a wide for filling all kinds of spaces. These markers do not bleed so you have total control over the pigment. Loralie includes an instruction sheet for coloring faces, leaves and flowers with the purchase of each Art Stamp kit. You’ll find step-by-step instructions on blending, shading and highlighting.

Denise had so much fun in Loralie’s booth that she purchased a set of the Art Stamps. Once back in Dallas she couldn’t wait to use them. She stitched one of her favorite blocks from the Stipple! Butterfly Collection. She hooped fuchsia fabric and used a beige tone-on-tone applique for the butterfly. Then she went to town adding details with the markers. If you look very closely you’ll see the details of the tone-on-tone fabric through the ink. Denise had a blast doing this and I think we’ll be seeing more of this technique in the future.

I thought I would take this a step further and stitch the same block on plain white fabric – no applique. Take a look at what you can do with just markers on a plain quilt sandwich.

If you’re a Loralie fan, you’ll love this week’s giveaway – an autographed sketch that Loralie made while at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo AND one Fast Women! Light Machine Embroidery Collection. These markers are a more sophisticated approach to coloring than the crayons we grew up with.

Tell us what types of projects would be your first if you were to use them and you could win Loralie’s autographed sketch and Fast Women! Embroidery design collection.

Last week we asked about your favorite machine dealer.  We have two winners for a  2011 Internet Embroidery Club Membership from Martha Pullen!  They winners are Barbara Yanta and Charlotte Lipe!

Barbara Yanta –  “My favorite sewing center is Bernina 245 in Hancock Fabric in Austin, TX. They always welcome me and drop what they are doing to help me find what I need. At Christmas I was embroidering place mats for gifts when my machine told me that the memory was full and would not let me go further. I tried everything and was on a deadline for the next day. I called the center and told them my problem. After trying to “un-freeze” my machine over the phone, they offered their machines in the center to help me finish. How many centers would do that?”

Charlotte Lipe – “My favorite sewing machine store is SEWING MACHINES AND THINGS in Franklin, TN. So many times they have gone the extra mile to solve the problems I have had with my machine. They are always friendly and caring and in the past 10 years have become friends.”





  • Enis

    I can totally see jazzing up casual t-shirts with these designs and markers! Oh yeah, and add some bling too and you’ve got a great one of a kind designer look.

    • eileen

      You’re right, Enis. These markers are a great way to add color to t-shirts without losing the soft drape of the knit. Very good idea!

      • Tere

        This post makes me want to write a turbite to my mother, who was divorced in her 30's with 5 young children. She had to work full-time and she went back to school to further her career. I am positive that greatly impacted the certainty of my desire to be a stay at home mother.I feel all panicky when I think of my last child grown-up enough to go to school. Whatever will I do with my empty arms and all that time?My dreams have always been about children, about being a mother, spending my days with them. It's the only thing I've ever been sure about.It has been different than I thought, though. Harder. Sometimes lonely and mundane. Always there are moments of pure joy. Times when I can't believe my great good luck to be home with my children.But it's so fleeting. I want to hold tight with both hands to these years before they're just memories.

    • Vickie Weber

      Could someone explain why there are not designs for Block 1 and Block 4 of the Butterfly Stipple It for the run designs only the bean designs?

  • Mary Lou Zoeller

    If I was the winner of the Copic Sketch markers, the first project I would do would be for my boss. She’s the owner of the Cafe at Main Street, where I work as the Hostess. She works so hard and I would love to treat her with a new apron that I made with these markers. She is so unselfishly giving to the patrons of her Cafe and her staff, she deserves something pretty just for herself.
    Mary Lou Zoeller

  • pam duxbury

    I would have to do some designs so I could make my daughter a new purse. She has 4 kids, her husband is in Iraq, And she holds down a full time job. She is what I call a fast woman. When she gets into cleaning or even sewing mode, everyone had best stay out of her way. And with all she does she deserves something nice to carry around with her.

  • Linda Swiedler

    I am in the planning stage of making and embroidering designs on a beach bag. I think using the colored markers would be great in designs where it would add a casual, light and airy feel to the finished project. How cute to replace some heavy stitches in flower petals or palm fronds with sheer colors. Afterall, anything at the beach should be light and airy.

  • Leanne

    I love loralie! I would start with a tote with the new designs. then move on to t-shirts sweatshirts and maybe even placemats and table runners. i have never used pens with my embroidery and would love to try it what a wonderful way for me to get the chance with this great giveaway

  • Bonnie

    If I had the Loralie markers I would first use then to make a tote bag for the quilt show at Paducah. I had already thought of using the Loralie designs on my tote, but the markers would be a great way to add detail without make the bag so heavy with stitching. I am anxious to try these markers. I love to paint and along with embroidery and quilting these would be a great tool

  • Clem

    I love Loralie designs. I have several already, but not the new ones. I love the thought of embroidering light designs and then going back to childhood and coloring… I would do the coloring on my grandkids shirts. A light stitching with color is perfect for children’s clothing. As for doing Loralie and then coloring…. why that would be mine of course. I have T-shirts that are screaming to have her on them along with color markers.

    I can also see these wonderful designs on a quilt for a guest room to make it fun for the guests. Along with the colors… what a wonderful idea. !!!

    Pick me, pick me… ok I am happy for anyone that wins, because the winner would have a great time with these.

  • Mary Newman

    I would like to add some pizzazz to my quilt labels. These markers give me lots of ideas such as copying a block in the quilt and painting in the appropriate colors or just highlighting the wording.

    I could also use it to color embroidery redwork designs – many, many uses.

    (I love the Loralie fabrics!)

  • Greta Kanegae

    I would use them to make a gift for my daughter’s teachers at school… they are all busy with lives of their own, and they spend so much extra time on the job preparing, teaching, testing, grading… educating the next generation! My oldest daughters teacher has kids ranging from 20 to 8, her oldest daughter just got married, and her other 2 kids are in 6th and 3rd grade like my own. My youngest daughters teachers are getting ready to retire at the end of the year but they both have very busy lives.


  • JanetRecla

    I love to make lap quilts for friends and family, these would make absolutely the cutest quilts and curtains for a sewing room.

  • Mary Parker

    Hi Eileen,
    I just love Loralie, I would frame her autographed sketch and hang it in my sewing room for inspiration. I know when I look at it, it would bring up all the wonderfull characters she has created.
    I would make an apron for my sister who doesn’t cook at all with the Fast Women embroidery collection, just to push her buttons!!! HaHa. And maybe add some to the quilt I am making.

  • Kathy

    I wouldlike to try these markers on a table runner and I would love the Loralie designs on flour sack towels! Great new items

  • Beverly Walker

    I would love to color designs on little pillowcase dresses for my nieces. I can just picture them wearing Easter designs on pillowcase dresses while hunting for Easter eggs.

    • eileen

      It would be as much fun as dying Easter eggs!

  • Patty Happel

    I would use them to make shirts and dresses for my 3 granddaughters and shirts for my one and only grandson. Looks like lots of fun

  • Beverly Lamm

    Like all the comments above, I would love any product of Loralie’s. I would use her designs to sell items and give a good portion of the proceeds to St. Judes hospital. I also think Ronald McDonald houses could use some of her cheery designs where parents stay. There are many great charities, however, these two have always touched my heart. There is a lot of sadness for these families and her designs and fabrics always make you smile.

  • Pat

    WOW! How cool is that!

    I love it!


  • Pat

    Hey! Where is the link for this item. It looks like so much fun!


  • Sorcha girl

    Hello, Eileen.

    I’m a fan of Loralie and her characters. Having her autographed “art” in my sewing room would be delightfu. I missed Sewing Expo this year. The first project I’d use with the Art Stamp “crayons” would be to add one of the embroidered designs to a plaing beige canvas tote and then, fill in with the markers.

    Love to read the creative ideas your blog introduces.

  • karen trott

    I’m with Enis. The teenage girls’ market. Lots of bling and personalization, Add fun purses/totes a pillow case or 2, maybe a baby burp towel. What fun . Great new product.

  • Mary L Haggenmaker

    I know there are surely many, many uses for this artform but at the moment the one I can think of primarily would be to use these tools for various shadings. Perhaps giving animals a more realistic form or to surround the main subject with highlights to complement the subject itself.

  • Shirley R

    I have purchased a lot of the “light” designs for my design “stash” from Embroidery Library over time because they are so nice to work with on tea towels and also for lighter weight knit T’s. But what you have done with Butterfly Stipple is so cute, (and I purchased that when you were here for Stitchin’ Sistes in Salem, OR), so I think I will try this as my first project. What a neat idea, and so easy!

  • Beth

    I would do a set of placemats and napkins for my kitchen table for my first project if I were to win. I’ve been trying to dress up my kitchen with embroidery ever since I got into machine embroidery – but I keep getting sidetracked by all the other projects I want to do! But it would be so quick to finish up a set of table ‘dressings’ using light designs and the color markers. What fun!!

  • Donna Viar

    My favorite things to color in would be birds. I am partial to Cardinals and Blue Jays. I love the beauty of these animals, especially a Cardinal on a snowy day. They lift my spirit.

  • Janice Murry

    This would be so handy to help me get that quilt that I need to make for a gift done quickly and beautifully!

  • Cathy

    I can see these designs on bags, t-shirts, jackets all kinds of things are running through my mind….

  • Wendy Scott

    I have some redwork zoo designs that would be cute done this way.

  • Gail Beam

    These markers would be great to use with my grandchildren, who love using their creativity in artsy craftsy projects. They could each pick out some designs that they like which I could embroider on something special for them. Then, they could personalize the design by coloring it their way. This would make the item of clothing or project more theirs and give gramma a way to share her love of machine embroidery in some fun quality time.

  • Cecilia

    I would use the designs and markers on a quilt that I am planning on making for my sister. She is a nurse and I just bought the Loralee nurse fabric to make her a lap quilt. With the designs and the markers, I could really personalize the quilt and the label for my sister. Thanks for the chance to win these great products.

    • eileen

      Cecilia, I bought Loralie’s nurse fabric a few years ago to make a quilt for my sister, Liz. Well, Liz is still a nurse and the fabric is still fabric – not yet a quilt! The best intentions…

  • Sue duisenberg

    Love Loralie, and would love to try using pens! What a hoot!

  • Sue Anderson

    My head is spinning with all the ideas I have. Birthday gifts for girlfriends, shower gifts, T shirts etc. I have a lot of designs that lend themselves to this kind of embellishment However the first one would go to my sister who just retired after 30 years as a patrol officer. She loves Asian inspired things. I can see doing a great dragon for her.

  • gloriawr

    I love this type of fast and easy design as I always do a machine embroidery design for my Christmas cards (in one of the photo slip in type of cards) and the addition of the coloring technique would be a nice way to give my cards more pizazz.

    Thanks for sharing the tips.


  • Betsy

    My landscape quilts could use some shading and these markers might give me the confidence to try it. I don’t have any Loralie designs yet as I’ve just recently discovered her. I’ve browsed her site….how to choose? They’re all delightful!

  • Jean Beckstrom

    My first project with these markers would be to make a quilt using some lovely line printed flowers. These have been on stand-by until I got the right product to paint/color them. This should be ideal for that project.

    • eileen

      With a project like that, you could jump right in to the stitching and not linger over fabric decisions. Good luck with it.

  • Bev

    I would start a pillow to accent the couch in my daughter’s apartment. She is growing into a lovely adult and these designs should fit her well.

  • Kulbinder

    I would host a Color me Party.
    Invite my friends for a meal and coloring date.
    They could pick their favorite design. Embroidery it onto a placemat. Then COLOR it.
    Each friend would have a personalised memento to take home at the end of the evening to remember the fun we had.

    • eileen

      Love that! Wonderful idea for a party!

  • Debbi

    My first projects would be faces!! Never have gotten them in thread the way I like them. Hopefully would do better with coloring

    • eileen

      Debbi, funny you should mention faces. Loralie includes step-by-step instructions for coloring faces in every pack of markers. You might find that to be a helpful tool.

  • Jane

    I have a window-pane shirt that has been waiting for the “right” designs. Fast Women would be perfect for a whimisical look to wear at my embroidery group. My friends would be green with envy!

  • Christian Chandler

    I can see using Loralie’s designs, markers stamps on wall hangings, t shirts, quilts, tea towels, and purses and jackets. A harder question would be where wouldn’t you use the markers, stamps designs etc…. no idea.

  • Joan Rueff

    The first thing that came to mind when I saw what Loralie did with copic markers was Greeting Cards….birthday, get well, Merry Christmas, retirement, congrats, divorce, hang in there, happy whatever. Wow, so many ideas are flowing through my head. Then can you just imagine what you can do with scapbook pages?? It sure gets the creative juices flowing!!

  • Melody♪♫

    I would love to do a “friendship quilt” with the ladies in my group using some of Loralie’s designs. Each character could be personalized to match the woman embroidering the block.

  • Peggy

    I have digitized my grandaughters drawings, it would be such fun to have her color them. What a special memory that would be.

  • Pam

    I would work on the new bedspread I’ve been promising myself for over 5+ years. This would be a great way to make it with less stitiching and more colors!

  • Judith

    I love the idea of the fabric marking/coloring pens. I am
    working on a very detailed tree skirt for a friend who moved back to NZ last year. I miss her terribly and wanted to do
    something extra special to keep as a family heirloom.
    I am in awe of your creativity.

  • Tina

    I would make me a quilt and matching pillow shams if I won these markers.

  • Nancy

    I have a Singer Futura. Does the perfect alignment work on it.
    Just ordered your new book and can’t wait to receive it.

  • Sandy Suhrie

    Perfect alignment looks interesting. Would love to try it. I embroider with my Bernina and Viking.

  • Marilyn Mason

    I’ve wanted to start a tote bag with embroidey on it and Lorelie designs would be perfect. I would like to make one for my best frienda, also, and she would get a kick out it is. Thanks.

  • VaughnCille Weidner

    I believe the coloring pens with Lorelie designs would be great on a child’s quilt. I have my first grandchild on the way and it would be a lovely gift from Grammy.

  • Lori Vale

    I think I would use the markers to add highlights to my embroidery, probably on a tshirt. Adding depth around the facial features or ruffles. Sounds like a fun process.

  • Johnie Marucci

    Ok so I am thinking about removing my site from Tumbler and get it to a WordPress site. I believe this is a wordpress blog right? If it is, may I ask where you got the theme? Thanks a bunch!